This One Simple Change Will Instantly Improve Your Posture

As ergonomists, we work with people just like you every everyday.  And as a company that conducts thousands of ergonomic evaluations each year across the U.S., there’s a common habit that we see over and over that in one fell swoop ruins otherwise great posture and puts you at risk for unwanted computer related injuries.  (And no one wants that!)

Are you guilty of this?

It’s called chin leaning.

Plopping your chin in your hand and leaning your elbow on your desk or table top is a posture killer!  And yet, so many of this do this a zillion times throughout the day and don’t give this a second thought!

If you sit while you work, you are particularly prone to this habit.  (I don’t think I’ve yet to see this posture by anyone while standing and working – but that doesn’t mean standers are immune!)

So, if so many of us are doing this, why is it so bad, and why are we doing this?

The Fallout of Chin Resting

Clearly, if the goal is to sit (and stand) with upright balanced posture while working with the computer, chin leaners, beware that your once beautiful upright posture is now obliterated.  In fact, the fallout of chin resting is not limited to one thing.  Chin resting can do all sort of harm to you including:

  • Contact stress on your elbow which in turn can cause numbing and tingling in your ring and pinky fingers since you are likely compressing your Ulnar nerve (funny bone nerve).
  • Contract stress on your carpal tunnel area (base of your palm) which can compress your median nerve (the nerve involved in carpal tunnel) which in turn can cause pain and/or numbing and tingling in your thumb, index, middle and half of your ring finger.
  • Risky wrist posture as it bends back to it’s end range of motion.  That can put you at risk for things like carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist and elbow tendonitis.
  • Forward neck position which can cause headaches, nerve compression in your neck, shoulder stress and of course back pain since this position distorts the natural curves of your spine.

So, What Causes Chin Leaning?

There are a number of culprits.  The most common ones include:

  • Monitor is too low (laptops on desktops without external monitors are a very common culprit)
  • Monitor is too far for easy viewing
  • Keyboard is pushed too far forward
  • Lack of core strength (Toned abs play a huge role in health posture)
  • Getting physically and mentally tired (That’s your body’s way of saying take a break!)
  • Poor eyesight (When did you last get your eyes checked?)
  • Habit

What Can You Do To Stop?

That’s simple.  First off, be aware of your posture and make a concerted effort to break this habit!  Then, check your workstation to see if any of the culprits above apply.  Check out this blog post to help you quit slouching.

If you lean forward due to eye sight, well, that one is easy.  Go get your eyes checked and in the meanwhile, try increasing your font size and sharpening the contrast on your monitor.

If it is a matter of your body getting tired, well, when you find yourself leaning, check when the last time you took a break was.  Remember, breaks don’t have to be long, they just have to happen often (1 per hour).

Let us know in the comments if you were successful in breaking this habit!  If so, how?  If not, what’s holding you back?

Until the next time!

Vivienne & Andrew

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